An Australian chiropractor is under fire for a controversial treatment he performed on a two-week-old baby. In the video, Dr. Andrew Arnold dangles the baby upside down by his ankles while the baby cries. He then uses a spring-loaded device to manipulate his spine, neck, and collarbone. The chiropractor insists the treatments improve colic. However, Australian health officials say the treats are risky and in some cases can lead to death.
Initially uploaded in August, the video shows a controversial technique used on infants to improve colic. During the video, Dr. Arnold uses a spring-loaded device called an activator on the baby’s hips, neck and shoulder.
Before using the activator, he tells the parents the device is on the lowest setting and will not hurt. After placing the tool on the baby, he pulls the trigger, and viewers hear a forceful pop. After the loud pop, the baby begins crying in pain.
Later in the video, Dr. Arnold taps on the baby’s head and feet. Then the chiropractor picks up the baby by his ankles and dangles him upside down.
Naturally, when the video was uploaded by the Herald Sun, there was an immediate backlash. Social media went wild with many people calling the practice abusive, cruel, and dangerous.
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikako called the video deeply disturbing.
“This vision is deeply disturbing,” she said. “It’s appalling that young children and infants are being exposed to potential harm,”
The minister called on the CBA to condemn the practice of treating infants, saying it was “unprofessional and unacceptable”.
She also urged AHPRA to “act quickly to stop these rogue practitioners in their tracks”
Minister Mikako stated that the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Royal Australian College of Physicians caution against spinal manipulations of children.
“Newborn babies are extremely fragile and it’s important to be aware that the damage done to an infant may not be obvious immediately and may not manifest until years later,” Ms Mikakos said.
Spinal manipulation of infants is not illegal in Australian. Numerous chiropractors offer adjustments to help infants with a range of issues. However, there is no scientific evidence the adjustments help to treat any ailments in babies or children.
However, there is data that shows adjustments can be extremely detrimental to babies and children. In 2009, an infant in Europe died after a cranial-sacral therapist manipulated her neck. Then in 2012, an Australian chiropractor broke the vertebrae of a 4-month-old. The baby had received an adjustment to treat torticollis.
A study published in the American Academy of Pediatrics highlighted the dangers associated with chiropractic adjustments on children. In a review of eight major medical databases, the authors found that adjustments led to paralysis, brain bleeds, headaches, and soreness.
Additionally, the study found parent’s using chiropractors instead of doctors to treat serious illnesses delayed proper diagnosis and treatment for certain cancers, diabetes, and meningitis.Many chiropractors have gone rogue and moved beyond spinal manipulations for adults and children. These practitioners claim they can treat serious diseases through spinal manipulation, nutrition, and supplements. Despite their promises to cure the disorders, there is no evidence to support their claims.
Often, parents that use chiropractors to treat illness and disease forego traditional medical care. In Illinois, Amber Hampshire attempted to manage her daughter’s diabetes without insulin. Instead, her daughter saw a chiropractor. Emily Hampshire died in November 2018 from diabetic ketoacidosis.
Tara Lovett of Alberta, Canada took her son to a chiropractor that she believed had the same level of training as a medical doctor. Her son, Ryan, died from meningitis, pneumonia, and a streptococcal infection after being sick for ten days.
With outrage brewing from the now viral video, numerous people are calling for discipline against Dr. Andrew Arnold. Victorian Health Minister requested The Chiropractic Board of Australia condemn the treatment used by Dr. Arnold and review the case for potential punishment.
In response, The Chiropractic Board of Australia said they are in the process of reviewing the video,
“The board has made a strong statement about the care of children and has written to every chiropractor in Australia to warn them to comply with their professional and ethical obligations, which are clearly outlined in the board’s code of conduct for chiropractors,” a spokeswoman said.
Whether the government will do anything to stop the practice remains unknown.
“Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews he was concerned by “that sort of alleged care” after seeing photographs of the treatment of the newborn.
“That’s why the government’s taken action, and Minister Mikakos the Health Minister has forwarded that onto the national body so they can have a close look at what’s gone on in that case,” he said.
“Not only is it quite confronting to look at, but the notion that that’s some sort of a cure for autism, for instance, that needs to be looked at very closely, and that’s why we’ve acted.”
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
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